Plans are being drawn up to extend Brierley Hill in Bloom this autumn, building on the success of this summer’s project. An informal steering group – consisting of traders representatives, the market, the Civic Society, Stoubridge College and Dudley Council met yesterday lunchtime to plan a way forward.
These are the things we’ve learnt so far:
- That the foundation students from the college have produced some fantastic displays, and these will last until around October time. Support from the college has been exceptional.
- Despite widespread predications of mass vandalism very little (touch wood) has occurred. In future we need to plan for around an extra 5% of flowers to be grown so we can quickly replace any plants taken out.
- Most vandalism occurs after England football games (why?)
- The response from traders is good. As well as helping water the plants some stores such as Polly’s tea room for example has now put up its own display.
- Sponsorship at £15 per trough is extremely good value for money and there is a willingness to support.
- The enthusiasm to sponsor increased when traders saw the quality of what had been produced – so this is something to build on in the future.
- Dudley Council has contributed to the scheme by ensuring the plants get watered – at 6am three times a week. They have also taken the risk on behalf of the community in respect of any claims. This is really good partnership working.
- Community members are happy to water the plants too – which is something to build on.
So what’s next?
We’d agreed to start small at the Five Ways and build up. So we are thinking:
- Extend along the High Street towards the Civic Centre using hanging baskets and stacked planters (possible four of the latter, two at each end of the town as ‘gateways’)
- Plant near to Brierley Hill Health and Social Care Centre and the College.
- Stick to the colour scheme (which fits in well with the street furniture and railings) of red and yellow, chosen because of the predominance of those colours in Brierley Hill’s coat of arms.
We also want to keep building links with schools. So far Brockmoor Primary School has come on board, but we would love others to get involved too.
All of this is, of course, dependent on getting resources to pay for the planters and plants.
There have been some very generous offers of support which we will take up. Some other potential funding sources have been identified and we’ll be drawing up grant applications.
For me, Brierley Hill in Bloom has been a highly visible statement that people DO CARE about our town. It has shown that positive things can happen and that we shouldn’t let a tiny majority of thoughtless vandals dominate our thoughts. We need to believe in ourselves and hopefully, on a small scale, this proves that when we do, we CAN make a difference.